It’s that time of the year again when general manager Mike Macccagnan sits down with his staff to start an off-season plan to try and fix the team for 2018.
The first item I’d like to address is the struggles the team had on offense during the fourth quarter. Mainly the pass protection was the issue where they allowed more fourth quarter sacks (19) than every team in the NFL except the Cardinals (22) which impacted Josh McCown’s performance. His QBR was only 21.2 (27th) in the final quarter. This hindered the chance to get back in games or to even have a chance to win a game or two. Good teams are able to do that.
The Jets really need to get help blocking from the tight end (s) and running back (s) position on pass plays. This made it easier for opposing teams to get to McCown. Also, upgrade the offensive line, mainly in Free Agency and maybe a pick or two in the Draft. They will have a total of six picks in the first six rounds, starting with the number 6 pick, then 37, 72, 103, 148 and 165 overall.
Switching to defense, the Jets gave up ten touchdown passes with four defensive backs in the secondary (base) and a total of 30 touchdown passes in 2017 which was the second worst in the league. First was the other New York team, the Giants. According to the stats, it was mainly a coverage issue and not the pass rush that caused all these touchdowns. The base defense allowed a league-high five touchdowns to tight ends, two more than the next-closest team. The Jets always had problems covering tight ends and it continues to rear its ugly head.
You can blame this all on the rookies, Jamal Adams, who had a decent rookie season and Marcus Maye. They are basically in charge of covering the tight ends. So one can easily say, the secondary was pretty much inexperienced. I’m sure that the team expects them to improve and it’s very unlikely they are going to be cut based on these stats. The coaches have to work with them and to fix the problem. As for personnel is concerned, they need better corners and faster linebackers. Aside from this, they also need a true edge pass rusher to take the pressure off the secondary. Especially with Mo Wilkerson, who once led the team in sacks, will no longer be on the team due to him not showing up to team meetings on time and being benched the last three games of the season because of that.
Another area of concern for the Jets would be yards per attempt on running plays up the middle which was ranked 30th in the NFL. They ran the ball much better on the outside, was they averaged 4.75 yards per carry (18th). I guess, this wasn’t noticed, by Jets offensive coordinator, John Morton, which was probably the reason why he was fired. Once again, the offensive line takes the blame for this, too. If you want me to point to individuals on the line, I’d say C Wesley Johnson, who struggled at the point of attack. He should be the first one to be cut or replaced. They can find one in the Draft, probably later in the rounds.
Last but not least, the Jets were 30th in the league throwing only 66 play-action passes whereas the Vikings threw 139 play-action passes. This is mind-blogging as to why it’s so low, since McCown’s passer rating was 85.7 on those types of plays. There were times; they could have really used it, especially when they were running the ball effectively. Once again, Morton didn’t recognize all this.
What’s the remedy for this? The team needs to find a much better offensive coordinator. One who really goes over stats of the game and diligently watch game film. The coach should also be able to get along with the other coaches on offense.
Who can be a possible replacement?
The Jets quarterback coach Jeremy Bates is regarded within the organization as a bright and creative coach. He could be one but doesn’t have experience.
Former Pittsburgh Steeler coordinator Todd Haley has been mentioned as a potential candidate and he and Bowles spent time together in Dallas. But I think Haley is too controversial, especially if Bowles and Morton clashed.
Former Seahawks offensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell, wasn’t even mentioned as a possibility but something happened in Seattle, where he might have ruined his opportunity to succeed Morton.
We’ll wait and see.